Y Vote? Empowering Young People in the Election Process

With polling day just days away, our focus at YMCA Brunel Group is to encourage young people to get out and vote. Based on the turnout at the last General Election, convincing young people to vote isn’t always easy.

According to an Ipsos Mori poll of the 2019 General Election, just 47% of all young people aged 18-24 voted, vs a 74% turnout of those 65+/ Compare that to 65+, where 74% turned out to vote.

We are asking young people this election, What’s Your Y? By encouraging young people to consider what is important to them this election and providing them with the tools and resources to understand each party and its manifesto, we hope to encourage more young people to have their say this Thursday.

Engaging Candidates

One effective method for young people to engage in the electoral process is by directly contacting their candidates. YMCA England & Wales has been at the forefront of this effort, encouraging candidates to back their General Election Manifesto. This manifesto focuses on five critical themes: Youth Services, Housing, Cost of Living, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Education. By emailing candidates and urging them to pledge their support for these issues, young people can significantly influence the political agenda.

Building a relationship with the candidates standing for election in your local area is another crucial step. Engaging with candidates early on allows young voters to better understand their positions on key issues and hold them accountable if they are elected as Members of Parliament (MPs). This engagement can take various forms, such as attending town hall meetings, participating in candidate forums, or even using social media platforms to ask questions and share concerns.

By establishing this connection, young people can ensure that their representatives are aware of their priorities and expectations.

Why Voting Matters

Every vote is pivotal in an election. When young people vote, they help shape policies that directly impact their lives, such as education, housing, and healthcare. Voting ensures that elected representatives remain accountable and responsive to the needs of the younger generation. It’s a powerful way to express opinions on various issues and advocate for meaningful change.

The Voting Process

  1. Register to vote: You can do this online or by post. Registration requires basic personal details and your National Insurance number.
  2. Once registered, you’ll receive a polling card before an election, detailing your polling station’s location and voting date.
  3. On election day, visit your designated polling station, where staff will verify your identity and provide you with a ballot paper.

You can use the following documents to verify your identity:

  • Passport
  • Driving license
  • Blue Badge
  • Biometric residence permit
  • Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram
  1. In the privacy of a voting booth, mark an ‘X’ next to your chosen candidate or party and place your completed ballot in the sealed ballot box.

*If you can’t vote in person, you can apply for a postal vote or appoint someone to vote on your behalf with a proxy vote. This ensures that all eligible voters can participate in the democratic process, even if they are unable to attend their polling station on election day.

Stay Engaged

Having your say doesn’t stop at voting. If an issue is important to you, be sure to stay informed, keep engaging your local MPs, and keep using your voice.

An Important Note

It is important to ensure your information sources are trustworthy so that you can make safe and informed decisions on the issues important to you. Check your local council for information on your area, use trusted and established media sources, and remember to be cautious on social media.

At YMCA Brunel Group, we build communities where everyone can belong, contribute and thrive. We encourage young people to be good neighbours and make a positive impact in their community.